Interesting weather battle shaping up in my old market, Milwaukee. WITI-FOX 6 is running two promos the across bow of longtime ratings opponent WTMJ-4. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel TV critic Tim Cuprisin liked to call the market’s chronic weather over coverage Stormageddon.
Trust me, both stations in this battle are aggressive weather warriors. In Milwaukee, ratings go up during storms and both stations will, again, be aggressive.
Some tips reduce your competition’s traction with ads like these:
1. Devote editorial staff to manage tickers/crawls. Keep them accurate, fresh & drop them the minute they become dated. I’ve seen too many stations running school closings at 9:30 in the morning or chuch closings at 8pm.
2. Viewers will watch wall-to-wall coverage if it is fresh, new, and relevent. Insist reporters listen to each other so they are not repeating each other’s content.
3. Keep the silliness to a minimum. Reporters explaining to me how they dressed for the weather, sticking a ruler in the snow bank, and showing me how to scrape my car’s windshield, all add to the sense that this is not important storm information.
Several research projects I’ve seen in the past year reveal that viewers are looking for a newscast that “doesn’t waste my time.” Applying that to storm coverage may be a stretch, especially if your message is – “the other guy’s will have more coverage than we do.. “